Farmers and rural landowners have welcomed a new government policy to increase the building of more affordable homes in the countryside.
Entry Level Exception Sites will allow affordable homes for first time buyers and renters to be built on land next to existing settlements.
These sites are proposed in the revised draft National Planning Policy Framework (NNPF). The consultation closes on 10 May.
The proposed policy could help the countryside thrive by providing more flexibility and support for cross subsidy than existing policies, encouraging more farmers and landowners to make appropriate land available for affordable housing.
Rural organisation the CLA has published a briefing today (26 April) explaining how the government policy could work to maximise the delivery of affordable housing in rural areas.
The CLA believes these sites could present greater opportunities for landowners to build affordable homes as discounted market sale homes can be built and sold without the need for a housing association, which is often not interested in small isolated rural locations.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said tackling the rural housing crisis is a "defining challenge".
“The rural economy will struggle to achieve its full potential and our villages will not survive if people cannot afford to live and work in the countryside,” Mr Breitmeyer said.
“If implemented correctly by local authorities, Entry Level Exception Sites strike a good balance between providing affordable homes and an economic return that motivates landowners to pursue sites, whilst ensuring sensitive design to meet the needs of the local community.
“Current policy options such as Rural Exception Sites are effective but are used inconsistently across local authorities. They also only work by relying on sites from landowners who choose to donate or sell land at reduced value, so delivery is restricted.”